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Elementary teacher uses reggae music to inspire students

Posted at 4:04 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 16:04:48-04

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — By day, Edward Jackson is teaching 4th-grade math and science, but by night, he is playing reggae music throughout Polk County.

Now, Jackson is combining them, using his own music and lyrics to teach lessons to students. If you’re dancing and learning at the same time, then you’re in Jackson’s Sikes Elementary School classroom.

“It can be slow and you want to make sure you are able to grab their attention and keep it moving forward, step to step, moving from subject to subject every day,” Jackson said.

Jackson is used to singing original songs with his reggae band, Fire Light. So, he thought, "why not write some lyrics to apply to math and science."

“It just felt natural, I use what I’m skilled and talented with and try and cross it over to whatever aspect I’m doing,” Jackson said. “I’m the same person out there as I am in the classroom.”

Students never thought learning about matter could be so groovy.

“Like he plays music in science that just makes me more hyped,” student Jordan McLeod said.

Jackson said people are getting songs stuck in their heads all the time, so why not use that to their advantage.

“Have a good beat behind it that gets them on pace because if you got something rhythmic that you are teaching those concepts with it helps them retain it a bit better,” said Jackson.

Like any good musician, Jackson always keeps them wanting more.

“Oh it’s great. It’s great, when you see that connection, fire in their eyes, it really reinforces, ‘yes I am doing the right thing, this is where I’m supposed to be and this is what I’m supposed to be doing,’” Jackson said.

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